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A Visit to a Brookline Car Wash

Today I did something I had never done before, and I know that this is going to come off rather silly, but what the hey.

I took my car to a car wash.

More specifically, I took the car to the ScrubaDub Car Wash in Brookline.

Perhaps I ought to explain why this feels to be of such paramount importance to me.

As many of you know, I grew up taking subways and walking everywhere. My family had a car, but I never drove it.

Recently, our car has gotten rather dirty. It sits under a tree, and has ended up somewhat covered in pollen and tree gunk. It was so covered that one of the passenger doors was too sticky to open properly.

So as I was getting new wiper blades today, a thought occurred to me -- why not take the car to a car wash?

Well, I knew why not. Years ago, when we first got the car, I read the manual, and it warned against going to certain types of car washes, as the brushes might be too abrasive for the car's finish. But it seemed to me that a good car wash would know all about that issue, and make sure not to wash your car if it was going to end up damaged. (Liability issues, and all that.)

So I did what I was always do in situations like this. I let Nomi do the research. (No, in truth, she volunteered.) I thought I was going to have to drive to Allston or Brighton for a car wash, but she found one right here in Brookline.

So this afternoon, I gratuitously used our new GPS to find the Car Wash (gratuitously because it told me to make one right turn, drive a few blocks, and there it was.) I drove up to the car wash, and explained to the attendant that I had never been to a car wash before and didn't know what I needed. He suggested one of their standard packages, and I paid. And then I had the Car Wash Experience.

First I closed the windows so he could hose down the car.

Then I put the car in Neutral and kept my foot off the brake and my hands off the wheel as a treadmill under the car pulled me forward. As I moved through the car wash, the car got sprayed with water and soap, and these great blue brushes descended from above and scrubbed the car. I felt a little claustrophobic, but I had faith that I would survive and come through at the other end unscathed.

Apparently, while this was going on, the car wash also cleaned my car's tires and undercarriage. But obviously I couldn't see that from my vantage point.

(I feel like the character of Alec Hergensheimer in Robert A. Heinlein's novel Job, where he explains very carefully the workings of a traffic light for his readers.)

Finally, we got to the the best part. At the end, hanging above and to the left, is an Elmo puppet sitting in a plastic car. I bet the kids love that.

I drove off to the side and got out of the car to inspect it. It was much, much cleaner. There was still a little dirt on some places, but I figured it was hard to get out and I wasn't too fussy. I walked over to the attendant to thank him, and then he surprised me quite pleasantly.

He said that he noticed that my car had been very dirty and that there were still remnants of dirt on it. And he offered to let me go through a second time, at no extra cost.

I was flabbergasted. I took him up on his offer, enjoyed the experience much more since I now knew what to expect, and wouldn't you know it, the Car Wash managed to get rid of the rest of the dirt. I was amazed. I made a point of thanking him again, and drove home.

I know that the car will get dirty again, but when it does, I will get it washed.

After all, it helps to be able to see out the windows when I drive.


I actually loved car washes when I was a kid. We'd all pile into the car (my parents, my sister, and I) and go through it, my sister and I squealing as the brushes descended, and then we'd drive out all sparkling and clean. And often stop at McDonald's or Burger King before or after for milkshakes. It was a good thing.
You're the second person (sciwitch in this post was the first) in a relatively short period of time who's posted about running the car through the car wash twice. I'd never experienced that before. What are the odds that two of my friends own such dirty cars that they need to hit the car wash for a double?
The odds are pretty good that coincidences happen, so I'd say the odds were okay on this one.
please tell me you're not saying that car had never been washed ever up until that point.
Early on when I got the car, I sometimes drove it to Nomi's parents' house to run their garden hose on it. And one of the places where I used to bring the car for an oil change would wash the car each time. But I haven't been to that place in a while.

So no, the car has been washed before. Just not at a car wash.
::whew:: don't mind me, please.

car washes are especially good in winter, because that undercarriage is where road salt can get up in and start/accelerate things* rusting, and car washes shoot their water at higher pressure than you could get at it with a garden hose. so it gets more of that stuff off than you would manually, especially since you can't see it (to remember, or to not stop with the hosing) like you can see gook on the hood.

*like, say, the muffler. or exhaust system. not to mention the frame itself.
Mazel tov on your first car wash! May you drive through many more!

I love going through car washes. I probably don't do it as often as I should, but I love it when I do.

Quick story: My brother is a car enthusiast. When we started planning his visit to Seattle a couple of years ago, I kept reminding myself: Wash the car. Get the car washed. Of course, in all the excitement of his impending arrival, washing the car totally slipped my mind. On the way to the airport, I decided to stop punishing myself for not washing the car. My brother was coming to see me, after all; why should automotive cleanliness be an issue? His first words when he saw my car in the parking structure?

"What? You couldn't wash the car for me?"

Around here some of the car-washes bill themselves as "gentle" or "non-touching"; instead of brushes coming into contact with your car they fire bursts of really-high-pressure water at your car from all directions (followed by dribbles of soap and more bursts of water, and then the blow-dryer). It's possible that the instructions you got are to use that sort.

I only go to the car wash a few times a year, but I consider it essential for getting the salt and gunk off at the end of the winter. (Sometimes I do a mid-winter visit too, on a day that's warm enough for that not to be stupid.)
Glad to hear that you had such a good time. Never too old for those fun experiences.

Then again, I think I lost part of an antenna the last time I went through one of those automated wash systems. Oh well. Never again will I buy a Saab. :)
If this is the one by the S&S, there are usually a bunch of stuffed animals at the end.

December 2016

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